Advent 1
December 3, 2000
Luke 21:25-36
"Today's Terminal Generation"

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Introduction: What could be said concerning this generation? How will people remember us? Only the history books will tell the next generation how we lived and experienced life. And then comes the words of our Savior for this morning. According to Jesus, there is a distinct possibility that this will be the last generation to inhabit planet earth. Could it be that the history books will not be written concerning this generation?  According to Jesus there is a distinct possibility that we are looking at today's terminal generation. Let's examine Jesus' prediction of the end of this age.

1.         An end is certain - this generation? V. 36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."  There will come a time when the world, as we know it, will come to a close.  As the Father spoke this world into existence in the beginning the Son will return in glory to judge both the quick and the dead. Jesus is coming soon!  As we anticipate the celebration of His coming into this world as an infant we anticipate Him returning as Judge and King. Will He come in this generation?  There is a distinct possibility. All we are called to do it to look for the signs of His coming.

2.         Signs of the end - vv. 25,26 "There shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and upon the earth distress of nations which perplexity the sea and the waves roaring. Man's hearts failing them for fear; and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."   What will be the signs of the end? 

Jesus tells us that there will be distinct and specific signs. May I suggest two; there will be signs that are visible in the physical world, and second, there will be signs that are apparent in the spiritual world.

A.        There will be signs in the physical world.  Jesus tells us that there will be anxious times in which man's hearts fail them for fear.  We are living in a time of prosperity, and in a general time of peace.   And yet, there appears to be that we are living in a time of high anxiety in our world.  There are general fears affecting people. People fear about their future. Will I have enough saved for the future. Will my children be prepared to survive and continue in this world? We sing these days that there is "peace on earth, good will toward man" and yet it appears that there is strife on this world that has not been experienced up unto this time.

B.        Jesus further explains that there will be signs in the spiritual world as well. The heavenly bodies will literally be shaken.  We are living in a time in which many are calling it a time of low morals. Some experts have referred to this time as a "post modern world" in which many are claiming that we no longer need the morals that have governed our society for so long.  Each seems to be living according to his own law. There are no longer any moral absolutes. How often have heard the moral climate of our time expressed in the phrases similar to the following: "I'm OK and you're OK…you live according to your standard and I'll live according to mine. Don't judge me and I won't judge you. Live and let live…everything is relative!" Like the Roman culture which was not over run by a foreign force but simply collapsed from within there are many so called experts who predict that our society can not last unless there is a revival.

Notice how subtle the end comes. It comes like a thief in the night. It sneaks up on us as almost to catch people unawares.  So often people look for the times of the end to be when the threat of war and disaster are all around us. Jesus explains that the end will come in a time that most people are caught off guard. It comes when people are not looking for His immediate return.

Illustration:  Place a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will quickly jump out. But if you turn up the heat ever so slightly he will boil without ever knowing it! So it appears that slightly over time, the moral fabric of the world crumbles and few see it unless there is a keen eye which can read the signs of the times. May the Savior give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and minds that set our sights upon Jesus.

3.         Preparation for the end - vv. 34-36  "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with fighting and drunkenness and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."   We prepare by being watchful.  We ask ourselves; what needs to happen before Christ would return physically to this earth?  The answer is nothing; nothing needs to happen before we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. In fact, there is only one prediction that Jesus makes that predicts what must first happen before the end of this age.  In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus predicts "And this Gospel will be preached around the world as a testimony to the nations and then, the end will come" {Matthew 24: 14} Look at a globe.  Where has the Gospel of Christ not been preached?  There is not one place where the Gospel has not been preached! It has been preached on every continuant and in every region!

Conclusion: The time of Christ's return could come at any time. Yes, it is true; this could be the last generation on planet earth.  Is this a terminal generation?  Only time will tell. As we prepare for the celebration of Jesus' first visit to this planet at Christmas, may we also prepare ourselves for His 2nd return; His 2nd Advent.  When we do that, we will be fully prepared and ready to receive Him when He comes in His glory.